Top 10 Spring Highlights
Spring is undoubtedly one of the best times to take a holiday.
In our Top 10 Spring Highlights we suggest a few of our favourite destinations where you can experience authentic festivals, colourful Easter processions, gourmet food fairs, or simply Spring itself:
The Narcissus Festival, Austria
To many, the daffodil (or narcissus) is the emblem of spring, and nowhere is this iconic flower more celebrated than in the valleys of Salzkammergut in the Austrian Alps. This year’s Narcissus Festival takes place from 29 May-1 June 2014, when the people of Bad Aussee organise the country’s biggest flower parade – on land and by boat across the lake. Bad Aussee is just 15km by train and bike from your hotel in St Agatha on our cycling holiday through the Salzburg Lake District
. You may even see the Queen of Daffodils being crowned…
Easter in Cyprus
With fruit blossoms coating the hillsides
and carpets of wildflowers (including over 50 species of orchid) across the Akamas Peninsula
, spring really is the best time to visit Cyprus, particularly if your trip coincides with Orthodox Easter (18-21 April 2014). The Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated with great pageantry, the highlight coming after midnight mass on Easter Saturday when fireworks light up the sky above mountain villages like Lofou
, while soup and flaounes
– traditional Easter breads filled with cheese and eggs – are served to revellers.
Ludlow Spring Festival, UK
After discovering The Castles of the Shropshire Marches
, you reach the walls of Ludlow Castle. Inside, you will be treated to the tastes, smells and sounds of the Ludlow Spring Festival (10-11 May 2014), which celebrates the area’s rich gastronomic and musical heritage. Passionate food producers selling locally produced artisan cheeses, farmhouse breads, spicy sausages and a vast array of tasty delicacies, vie for your attention among over 140 draught ales from across the Marches, to an eclectic soundtrack of jazz and blues, folk, gypsy and Latin rhythms.
Peach blossom in Drôme Provençale
Deep in the heart of rural southern France, the little-known region of Drôme Provençale is famed for the peach and nectarine blossom which covers the sunny hillsides in April. Spend a week at our tranquil farmhouse apartments, Le Petit Bousquatier
, near the hamlet of Salles-sous-Bois, and you can enjoy leisurely walks through orchards, olive groves, lavender fields, oak woods and vineyards. By May, the fresh green shoots of the vines are bursting into leaf throughout the Rhône valley, and the first strawberries and cherries are ripe enough to pick.
The Explosion of the Cart
The Scoppio del Carro (‘Explosion of the Cart’) is a based on an old folk tradition from Florence. Walk Through the Mugello Hills to Florence
or from Bologna to Florence
, and time your visit to coincide with Easter Sunday (21 April 2014) to witness this unique spring event. A firework-filled cart is hauled by team of white oxen into the square, and then ignited by a mechanical dove flying down from the ‘Duomo’. The fireworks symbolise the Holy Fire created from flints brought back from the First Crusade, and guarantee a good harvest and stable life for the coming year.
Spring flowers in Sicily
To walk in the little-known Madonie National Park in mid-April is to experience The Mountains of Sicily
at their colourful best. Our routes follow winding paths lined with a wonderful array of flowers, the flowers beginning to blossom on the lower slopes in early spring, gradually climbing to the higher meadows as the sun’s rays reach over the peaks later in the month. Anemones, peonies and scented narcissus are amongst the most beautiful, while rare endemic violets and the tulip 'silvestre' are the most striking flowers in the Park.
Honey and cheese in Aracena
It’s not just people who are drawn to the rolling landscapes of Spain’s Secret Sierra
in the spring. As the wildflower meadows burst into colour, bees and butterflies appear as if by magic to take advantage of nature’s bounty: butterflies seeking out the amber nectar to pollinate flowers; the bees to create their intricate honeycombs. It’s cheap, quick and easy to reach Aracena from Seville by bus, and you will soon be in flower-filled meadows, enjoying picnics of Queso de la Sierra
(tangy goat’s cheese) complemented perfectly by the sweet local honey
The Sardinian Nougat Festival
Nougat is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Sardinia, but visit this Easter and you’ll have the chance to join in the Sardinian Nougat Festival hosted by the town of Nouro, which can be visited as part of our Sardinia Discovery
. Not far from Oliena, this colourful festival celebrates the culture and customs of Sardinia, offering the chance to sample a variety of traditional sweets, while being entertained by local bands performing the authentic music of this fascinating island.
The colours of Algarve
During the last week in March and throughout April, the brilliant colours of golden broom and French lavender carpet the landscapes of Algarve’s Coast and Hills
, making this a very special place. Along the coast, it is common to see rock roses, sea pinks and blue pimpernels adding pockets of colour to ancient forts and harbour walls; while inland, the hills of the Serra de Monchique are carpeted with peonies, little blue scillas, and sombre bee orchids, their delicate fragrance lingering in the air as you walk
Wildflower meadows of Switzerland
The reason that this is last in our Top 10 spring highlights is simply that spring arrives later in the Villages of the Engadine
, though by early June, the meadows and upland pastures are awash with delicate pastel shades and gently humming bees. Wander through larch woods and verdant meadows; follow riverside paths past crystal-clear lakes and pretty villages; climb above the treeline to discover a frescoed monastery above one of Switzerland's highest villages, all the while enjoying splendid views to the high peaks.
If our Top 10 Spring Highlights has whetted your appetite to travel this spring, please contact
our friendly reservations team for more information.